The Best Swig Sugar Cookies {Copycat Recipe}

These are the best little frosted sugar cookies on the planet! A knockoff from the popular soda shop, these Swig sugar cookies are amazing (and so easy – no rolling or cutting out!).

Lots of frosted Swig sugar cookies with sprinkles on white tray.

Have you hopped on the Swig sugar cookie train? Not the buying-of but the making-and-devouring-of train? 

I’m guessing many of you have. I mean, knockoff recipes for these popular pressed and frosted sugar cookies are certainly nothing new. And I’m not reinventing the wheel from scratch today.

But I AM sharing my go-to, favorite copycat recipe for these Swig sugar cookies, and I may be biased, but this recipe really the best one I’ve made out of the dozens of recipes I’ve tried for these cookies over the years. 

Swig sugar cookie frosted with sprinkles on white napkin.

If you’ve been around since the beginning of MKC time (bless you), you might recognize this old Sugar Gems recipe. Posted long before these popular soda/cookie shops started popping up everywhere, it’s proof that pressed (no rolling or cutting!) and frosted sugar cookies have been a favorite for many of us long before they became trendy and went viral online. 

I’ve used that Sugar Gems recipe many times when I’ve needed a quick frosted sugar cookie fix that didn’t require digging out the cookie cutters. And over the years, after making many of the knockoff Swig recipes out there (like this popular one Mandy posted years ago) and using the Sugar Gems recipe as a base, I’ve come up with my own slightly different Swig copycat cookie recipe. 

It’s not vastly different from other versions, but it does have some variations that make it worth living in a blog post all its own. 

Swig sugar cookie pressed flat and baked on half sheet pan.

A couple keys to success for the perfect Swig sugar cookie is to:

-use just the right amount of flour in the dough
-don’t press the cookies too thin (I aim for between 1/4- and 1/2-inch)
-underbake just slightly (or at the very least, don’t overbake!)

I’ve given both a cup measure and a weight measure for the flour in this recipe. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, make sure to fluff the flour in the container before scooping in your cup and leveling off. You don’t want the flour packed into the measuring cup, otherwise the baked cookies will probably be dry and crumbly.

At the same time, this isn’t a super soft, sticky dough. It’s thick and a little stodgy, but the rolled dough should press easily. 

Sugar cookie dough in Bosch mixer.

I use my large #20 cookie scoop {aff. link}, and roll the thick dough into balls. The rest is simple – grab a flat-bottomed glass, spray with cooking spray so the first dip into sugar sticks, and then press each dough ball (dipping the bottom of the glass again in sugar between cookies). 

The cookies will spread just slightly while baking but if the dough is perfectly floured, they should retain their ruffly edges for that signature soda shop look. 

Step by step of cookie dough, pressing with a glass.

The truth is, though, no matter how wonderful the sugar cookie is, it’s not going anywhere without a killer frosting. Bad frosting will ruin these Swig sugar cookies faster than you can say “swig style sugar cookie” ten times fast. 

Good thing this ultra-creamy, delectable frosting is not rocket science. It’s just a little butter, a little sour cream (go with it – it’s what sets this frosting apart!), powdered sugar and a few extras, like vanilla and cream. 

Whip it up, frost those cooled cookies, and then grab some sprinkles and go to town. The possibilities for colored frosting/festive sprinkles to match literally any holiday or occasion is almost mind boggling.

Swig sugar cookie frosted with sprinkles with bite taken out on white napkin.

Walker, the resident 13-year old around here, made three double batches of these cookies last fall for a middle school leadership fundraiser. The first day he took them, they were the first baked good to sell out. We’re talking within minutes. The second day, the secretaries in the front office, knowing of their popularity from the day before, snuck a few cookies in advance (they paid!) in order to beat the inevitable rush.

And the third day after the cookies sold out in record time again, three of Walker’s friends told him he should forget school and go into the cookie making business. 

In order to streamline the process, we made and froze the rolled cookie dough in advance…and I’ve read many comments online that say the frosted sugar cookies freeze well, too! Who knew? That’s pretty awesome (although I haven’t tried it myself). 

Anyway, all I’m saying is, these Swig sugar cookies are good. Like, really good. Like, now that I have this easy soft and chewy drop sugar cookie recipe in my life and now this go-to pressed sugar cookie, I’m not sure I’ll ever pull out the cookie cutters again. 

Also, I may have waited too long for a basic version, but way back in the archives is this insane chocolate frosted Swig cookie, and it is one of my favorite cookies EVER! Looks like you have no excuse not to be baking cookies within the hour. 🙂

Lots of frosted Swig sugar cookies with sprinkles on white tray.   

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Swig Sugar Cookies {Copycat Recipe}

Yield: 30 cookies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 12 minutes

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter (8 ounces, 16 tablespoons), softened
  • 3/4 cup neutral-flavored oil, like avocado, canola or vegetable
  • 1 1/4 cups (9.25 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (see note)
  • 5 1/2 cups (27.5 ounces) all-purpose flour (I use unbleached)
  • Granulated sugar for pressing the cookies

Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces, 12 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 cups (24 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons cream or milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (or 325 degrees F for convection bake) and line several half sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl using a handheld electric mixer), add the butter, oil, granulated sugar and powdered sugar. Sprinkle the baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt across the top of the sugars (don't add the baking soda and cream of tartar in one lump or it might clump while mixing). Mix until well-combined and super creamy, 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add the sour cream, eggs and vanilla and mix until well-combined, 1-2 minutes, again scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add the flour and mix until no dry streaks remain and the mixture is evenly combined; don't overmix.
  5. Scoop the dough into about 3-tablespoon sized portions (I use a #20 cookie scoop) and roll into balls. Place several inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Add about 1/2 cup granulated sugar to a shallow dish or bowl. Lightly spray the bottom of a flat-bottomed glass with cooking spray and dip the bottom of the glass into the sugar. Press each cookie into an even thickness dipping the bottom of the glass into the sugar between each press (no need to spray it again with cooking spray after the first time). The edges of the cookie will ruffle out a bit. It's really up to you how thick or thin to press the cookies. I like them between 1/4- and 1/2-inch thick.
  6. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until just set. Try not to let them get golden on the edges or very much on the bottom - that means they've baked too long and they may be dry and crumbly instead of creamy and soft.
  7. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. For the frosting, in a medium bowl (can use a handheld or stand mixer) combine the butter, sour cream and vanilla. Mix until thick and smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and cream (or milk) and mix until well-combined and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add additional cream, if needed, to adjust the consistency of the frosting so it is thick but still soft and spreadable.
  9. Frost the cooled cookies and decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Notes

I've also used vanilla butter emulsion in place of the vanilla extract (in both the cookies and frosting) for a super yummy, buttery vanilla flavor.

Be careful not to overflour the dough or the cookies might be dry instead of soft after baking. If you don't weigh your ingredients, make sure to fluff the flour in the container before scooping in the measuring cup and leveling (don't pack or shake the flour into the cup!).

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Recipe Source: adapted from my old Sugar Gems recipe and this popular recipe at Vintage Revivals; frosting recipe adapted from A Bountiful Kitchen’s recipe 

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